- Look at the packing list the mission sent you, follow it carefully, but be advised that
1. Bring a backpack, not a bag. A bike bag may also be useful. All should be waterproof if possible.
2. Wear sandals, not closed toed shoes.
Arch support sandals are good for walking. All shoes should be waterproof and good quality so they don't break. Not
too bulky though.
Here are some ideas that I have come up with:
A pair of closed toed, light weight shoes may be nice for meetings and special events
Other than that, it seems live everyone wears flip flops and regular sandals (I know!! :) ) ...just make sure they are comfortable!
3. Bring clothes for warm/hot/humid weather (avoid extra layering). Light material, opaque colors are best. Keep in mind that you will be riding a bike. Also bring a cardigan or two for the rain. Washing clothes takes a long time, so bring enough shirts for two weeks (to free up time). The best skirts/shirts will be ones that don't show much dirt/sweat, DRY QUICKLY, and wont fall apart. Some girls wear normal short sleeved blouses or t shirts, and that works for them, but I think that bringing some basic bright colored athletic shirts that are quick dry and sweat wicking would be a smart move. No camis needed. You can wear them to bed, to work out, and to teach. Dress them up with a colorful skirt and BAM, good to go. Most Tahitians live in very modest circumstances. No need to be flashy.
Also, people seem to expand on their missions in Tahiti (Not that you should, or you will, or it is an excuse to. Be healthy!) but skirts that can expand/shrink a little would be...safe.
4. Rain. When it rains it pours. EVERYTHING should be waterproof if possible. Maybe an umbrella? Very very lightweight rain poncho that will fit over your body and backpack? Or you can just embrace the downpour and be wet for a couple days. They seem to recommend staying dry ;)
5. Makeup will melt off of your face. Bring good facial sunscreen if you are not used to spending all day long in the sun.
6. You may be living on your bike. You should bring one with you to the MTC, disassembled in a box, with a RECEIPT OF PURCHASE to get through customs. Make sure it is sturdy and will last. Also ladies, why don't we start the rigorous exercise now, so we don't die after the first week? You will also need a helmet, and a water bottle holder/water bottle may be nice.
7. Even though the mission booklet says our voltage is 110, you need a 220 converter. Don't bother with hair tools.
8. Important documents. Bring photocopies of everything. (Drivers license, International Driving Permit, Passport/visa page). Even though the mission booklet says you need to have your passport on you at all times, the mission home generally keeps them. Extra passport photos. Shot card. Cash for emergencies and the airport (they recommend at least $200). Beware of luggage charges for overweight items. May want to bring a debit card just in case.
9. BUGS. There are a lot of mosquitoes. Not sure how they combat this yet, but I am packing a good supply of 100% deet to use... at least until I stop smelling like a sweet-blooded American.
DOGS. Mutant dogs may or may not hunt you down on bikes and try to eat you. Bring pepper spray. A good squirt with a water bottle or kick in the nose may also work. (Note: I love animals. Just not mutant ones)
10. Personal supplies. Not sure how available deodorant or tampons are on the island. Will check. Better bring some to be safe.
A nail kit. Brush. Hair ties.Needed medication (ibuprofen or prescription,etc) Tweezers. Sewing kit. Small first aid kit. Chapstick x a lot. Sunscreen. Gentle face wash, perhaps.Small basic watch.
11. Garments. Mesh ones seem to be the winner. They are the coolest. Two weeks worth.
12. Bedding. Sheets/pillow case in bright colors, so the white doesn't yellow after a billion washes and a billion sweaty nights. Not sure if we need a blanket. I am guessing not. But I imagine that a very thin one will do if we need to bring one. (I will find out) Some girls sleep outside. Mosquito net? Possibly. Two quick dry towels (no plush ones! they will be wet for a year!)
13. Letters/etc. A camera with a cord to upload photos. An extra memory card. Perhaps a small external hard drive to store all of them. I hear some missionaries cover their cameras in tape to keep them from looking too shiny and nice and steal-able. Notebooks for writing letters. A journal or two for personal memories. Family photos, laminated.
- It may be a good idea to start eating fish. We will be living on it. Raw fish, grilled fish, boiled fish, steamed fish. And lucky for us, we will also have access to the most delicious fruit in the world! It may be wise to bring a couple bottles of multivitamins though. They don't eat too much dairy (calcium) or a particularly wide variety of vegetables. Missionaries seem to get sick frequently, so maybe this will help. Exercise. French food. Vitamins. Clean water. Speaking of water....it is iffy whether or not the island water is safe. Some is, some is not. Stick to bottled water or boil it before you drink.
- MTC -- I am bringing normal clothes (flats, straight skirts, etc) and normal things (blow dryer, makeup) to the MTC but plan on sending them home before I head out to Tahiti.
The normal stay is 5.5 weeks each for French and Tahitian (they teach you Tahitian in French).
- Scriptures -- In Tahiti we will only be able to use scriptures/study material in French. It may be worth it to get a nicer set of scriptures in French (as opposed to the pass-out version) in place of getting nice ones in English.